I know many people have mixed feelings when it comes to the “day of love”. But Valentine’s Day for me has become an opportunity to celebrate any kind of relationship in your life, be it romantic, family, friends, and even the one with yourself. Given the surge of “GALentine’s” and “PALentines”, we’re acknowledging this more and more.
The people in our lives are a key aspect to happiness. As I reflect back on some of my relationships I feel fortunate for the lessons I have learned along the way. Yes, even the heartbreaks – cue “Ariana Grande’s, “Thank you, next”!
So, in the spirit of Valentine’s, here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the past few years.
1) Romantic Relationships. As a women who is single in her mid 30s (a “touchy” topic), a lasting romantic relationship has been the most elusive. The confusion, disappointment, unanswered questions can be at times, crippling. As an optimist and eternal learner, I’ve always looked for the lesson. When it’s not so obvious, that’s when I find myself having to learn to let go and trust it will show up. Sure enough, some have hit me a year later and some, I still have no idea.
But, aside from the “every heartbreak makes us stronger”, I’m truly grateful for the learnings. What I’ve been able to distinguish are the parts I desire from a partner that are actually important and the kind of person I want to be for him and for this world. That clarity has passed onto all my relationships and has allowed me to build deeper, stronger bonds with existing ones and to move on from romantic interests, a little more easily.
2) Self Awareness. I love this piece. What does it have to do with relationships? It is both the root of soo many problems and the solution. There are times where people who I thought would always be my biggest cheerleaders gave harsh and hurtful opinions. Through self-awareness I have learned to distinguish “fact” from “fiction” and decide how much weight their opinion will actually have. It has allowed me to move beyond the words and recognize the source of their opinions come from a space of love, and at times, fear. So, whether it is to move half way across the world and they want you to stay. Or you know you need to make a career move and they think it’s illogical, coaching others (and myself) through the pain and confusion by tapping into the true source of the problem has maintained peace and understanding and therefore, maintaining love and appreciation in the relationship.
3) The most important relationship is the one with yourself. This is not new, but I reinforce it because let’s face it, we are our worst critic and most of us need a “be kind to yourself” reminder on our bathroom wall. In the past I have psyched myself out of my sadness/anger/disappointment. Recently, I’ve allowed myself to experience and be present with my emotions, bringing a new level of liberation and strength. There’s no question we give ourselves permission to feel joy but we punish ourselves and apologize for anything that is not happy and positive. Giving yourself PERMISSION to experience it all GIVES you POWER, not take it away.
So with that, may Valentine’s Day be a reminder to look for the lessons, to understand the source of others opinions, to love yourself first, and always be a day to celebrate every relationship.